Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Remembering Motherhood

Last spring as school was winding down, we made the decision to no longer home school. This was an agonizing decision for me. My other half has always known that we would eventually send our kids to public school. We are both public school kids ourselves, have nothing against public school, and he is all about getting them "exposed" to the world while they are young and in our home so it isn't such a shock when they get older. Me, I just don't want them exposed, ever. I always LOVE to be in control and I wanted to control their environment, as well as their education. So 2 years ago, when our oldest was gearing up for kindergarten, we decided to do a home school cooperative program. The best of both worlds - a few days here, a few days in a classroom setting with other kids. It was a great choice and I am so glad that we did it. But...I am so glad that we aren't doing it anymore :-)

I agree, full out, that the Lord has given us children and that we, as their parents, are the best choice to care for them and to "raise them up in the way that they should go". I loved my family being all together, I loved our slow mornings and afternoons curled up on the couch reading, I loved watching the light turn on as I taught them new things. I do not plan on any of this stopping (except the slow mornings obviously). I plan to continue teaching my children, reading with them and to them, teaching them new things. But what I also plan on doing is becoming their mom again, and enjoying it.

What homeschooling has done to me is make me their teacher...first. I have lost the joy in being their mom. I was so wiped out by the academic education of them that I lost the relational and spiritual teaching of them. I was walking around with a huge rock of responsibility that was taking my joy in them away. I was not being a good mother, because all I had to give them was the teaching. I missed them.

I spent the last half of last year praying that the Lord would change me, that he would make me enjoy homeschooling or give me the freedom to to send them to public school. I felt like such a failure because I thought I wasn't giving my kids the best by not homeschooling. I felt like a failure because I couldn't do what all the other moms around me were doing. So I prayed. I had a friend ask me whose permission I needed to not homeschool. What a great question. So I started asking the Lord to give me permission to quit. It came almost instantly. All I had to do was ask that - and I felt such freedom to release that expectation on myself. I have had many people try to change my mind, but the Lord has always given me a great peace about it.

Now, it has only been a half of a week of public school and I know this is way too early to tell if this is the answer to my sucking as a mom, but man, I have so enjoyed my kids this week. I have enjoyed teaching them. I have enjoyed reading to them, and letting them read to me. I have enjoyed sitting down to do piano with them in the afternoon instead of yelling at them to get their practice done - because by the afternoon, I had nothing left to give them, and a whole days worth of curriculum yet to plan for the next day. I have enjoyed my still at home little guy, because I have some energy left to give him, and a desire to actually teach him something for a change (my daughter started reading at 3, sweet Micah doesn't even know all of his letters).

I feel like I am remembering what it means to be their Mom. I miss them like crazy, it is driving me a bit nuts that I don't know what they are studying each day, but I send them off each morning under God's protection and supervision, praying with them and for them like I have never done before. Trusting and enjoying...

Monday, August 1, 2011

some sweet moments

Just to share a few sweet moments with my kids lately:

My kids do a summer library reading program each year. When they finish and turn in their reading log they get to write their names on a a handprint and put it on the library wall. Kate put her hand on Ethiopia.

A few days ago at the park, I was pushing Micah (just turned 3) on the swing. I started talking to a fellow swing pusher- asking about their kids. They asked me how many kids I had, and if they were girls or boys. As we shared our kid info, Micah chimed in and informed the Dad that he also had a little sister in Ethiopia and that she would be home soon. My heart burst with excitement over bringing our little girl home. He will be such a great big brother!